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Black History Month

 

Racist conservatives and their Lawn Ornaments have a new argument – that Black History Month is no longer relevant because it has been absorbed into mainstream American History. That is yet another racist myth.

Proof?

The Texas School Board which is run by right wing racists…

Texas Makes Changes to History Textbooks: No Mention of KKK or Jim Crow, and the Civil War Was Fought Over States’ Rights, Not Slavery

A change is coming to public school education in Texas, a change that was voted for in 2010 and will take effect when students go back to school come fall.

It’s happening in history class—in the new social studies textbooks that students will be using to learn U.S. history. New state academic guidelines changed some of the black American history content that students typically learn. For instance, the new textbooks will “barely address racial segregation,” the Washington Post explains; nor will they make mention of the Ku Klux Klan or the Jim Crow laws put in place to continue what began with slavery.

Oh, and with regard to what got the Civil War going: Texas’ new academic standards mandate that students learn that the war was about a debate regarding states’ rights. Slavery will reportedly play second fiddle on the list of explanations used to teach why some states seceded from the Union. …

 Texas officials: Schools should teach that slavery was ‘side issue’ to Civil War

Five million public school students in Texas will begin using new social studies textbooks this fall based on state academic standards that barely address racial segregation. The state’s guidelines for teaching American history also do not mention the Ku Klux Klan or Jim Crow laws.

And when it comes to the Civil War, children are supposed to learn that the conflict was caused by “sectionalism, states’ rights and slavery” — written deliberately in that order to telegraph slavery’s secondary role in driving the conflict, according to some members of the state board of education.

Slavery was a “side issue to the Civil War,” said Pat Hardy, a Republican board member, when the board adopted the standards in 2010. “There would be those who would say the reason for the Civil War was over slavery. No. It was over states’ rights.”

Why does it matter what some right wing racist redneck types do to their schools in Texas? Texas buys 48 million textbooks every year. No other state, except California, wields that sort of market clout. As such, the Texas KKK version of American History gets printed, and distributed to other states. Meaning, the Texas board gets to erase people like Caesar Chavez, and the existence of Jim Crow from not only their textbooks – but those bought by other states.

So…There is an active movement in America…Still…To erase Black History. The argument against Black History Month is based on CHarles Woodson – who believed black history would be absorbed into the context  of Amrican History – ergo American Historians, textbook publishers, and Schools –  “would willingly recognize the contributions of black Americans as a legitimate and integral part of the history of this country.”

Obviously…That isn’t happening.

Black History Month in Schools—Retire or Reboot?

Now in its 40th year, questions remain about the value of commemorating it in classrooms.

The seed of what is now known as Black History Month was planted in the doctoral thesis of Carter G. Woodson, a noted scholar, author, and co-founder of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History. The son of former slaves, Woodson received a Ph.D. in 1912 from Harvard University, where he studied under renowned historians who minimized the importance and vitality of black history. But Woodson would not be deterred. He believed the heritage and contributions of black Americans was excluded from history, and he saw this knowledge as essential to social change.

Woodson’s dedication to the research and promotion of black history has been memorialized by his actions—in 1926 he declared the second week of February Negro History Week—and his words:

If a race has no history, if it has no worthwhile tradition, it becomes a negligible factor in the thought of the world, and it stands in danger of being exterminated.

Today Woodson’s brainchild is the entire month of February. First celebrated in 1976, Black History Month was the result of a growing racial pride and consciousness of black Americans and Woodson’s association pushing to expand the weekly celebration. Now a well-entrenched, nationally recognized observance, Black History Month is a commemoration that might be short in days but is increasingly long on controversy. In the last month—in examples that cross racial boundaries—the black actress and conservative commentator Stacey Dashcalled to eliminate Black History Month, labeling it a vestige of segregation, while Republicans in the Kansas legislature questioned if an entire month dedicated to honoring black history was “too long.”

In one corner, advocates of Black History Month argue that a special month is needed to celebrate and recognize the achievements of black Americans in a country where European history dominates historical discourse. In the other corner, critics cast doubt that Black History Month is still relevant with the gains made in race relations—a black U.S. president the most visible sign—anddetractors charge it is detrimental in the long term to pigeonhole black history into a month-long observance. Somewhere caught in the middle are educators and schools.

A driving force behind Woodson setting aside time to study and reflect on black culture was his frustration that children—black and nonblack students—were deprived of learning in America’s schools about black achievements. Yetaccording to the NAACP, even the creator hoped the time would come when a black history week was unnecessary. Woodson was optimistic that America “would willingly recognize the contributions of black Americans as a legitimate and integral part of the history of this country.” But research shows this goal is far from complete.

Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, in 2014 graded all 50 states and the District of Columbia on how well their public schools taught the civil-rights era to students. Twenty states received a failing grade, and in five states—Alaska, Iowa, Maine, Oregon, and Wyoming—civil-rights education was totally absent from state standards. Overall, the study found less teaching of the civil-rights movement in states outside the South and those with fewer black residents. The report paints an unfavorable picture of schools where a crucial event in black history is largely ignored…Read the Rest Here

 
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Posted by on February 22, 2016 in The New Jim Crow

 

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Soledad O’Brien’s Passion for Black History

For the time being, I’ll take this one on face value, instead of a more cynical suspicion that CNN is promoting an agenda…

CNN reporter to share passion for black history at Pacific

To Soledad O’Brien, it’s always black history month.

“It’s every day, sure, sure,” said O’Brien, the CNN reporter who’ll help University of the Pacific start its official Black History Month events by speaking and answering questions tonight at Faye Spanos Concert Hall.

“One gets to talk about black history, and when you talk about Black History Month now people want to know what’s happening in Haiti, too. It reminds me about our history.”

O’Brien, who recently returned from covering Haiti’s earthquake tragedy for CNN, also spent a year producing a 2009 documentary — “CNN Presents: Black in America” — that resonates appropriately with “Our Story,” the theme of Pacific’s 12th Black History Month program.

“I really sort of think about Black History Month as a living, breathing element,” said O’Brien, 43, in a phone interview from her CNN office in New York on Tuesday. “Lots of stories continue to revolve around people of color. The country’s minorities now will be a majority no sooner than 2050.”

“We identified her a couple of years ago as one of the best storytellers of the black experience in America,” said Marcus Perrot, 48, chairman of Pacific’s Black History Month Committee. “Particularly when we heard she was covering (President Barack) Obama’s election campaign, we knew she would bring a very rich perspective and variety of experiences.”

The second half of O’Brien’s 2009 CNN documentary will be shown Thursday night at the Pacific Theatre. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2010 in Black History

 

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